Life-saving devices pop up around Summit | SummitDaily.com
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Life-saving devices pop up around Summit

NICOLE FORMOSA
summit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY ” More and more medical devices that are proven to increase the odds of survival during a cardiac arrest will appear in Summit County over the next two years.

Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) are used to deliver an electric shock to a person who is suffering a cardiac arrest. Studies have shown that using the machine within the first few minutes of an arrest can significantly increase a person’s chance for survival, said Roger Coit, training coordinator for the Summit County Ambulance Service (SCAS).

Because science shows that cardiac arrests occur more often in busy public places, the county is working to make the devices more readily available.

So far, about a dozen AEDs have been installed throughout the county, including at the Dillon Community Church, The Raven Golf Course, the Summit County Community and Senior Center, the Beaver Run Conference Center and the Summit County Jail, Coit said. Every local law enforcement vehicle also carries them, as well as several fire vehicles.

The push for AEDs goes hand-in-hand with a major boost Summit County landed in the fall of 2004 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services selected four communities nationwide to receive a three-year grant worth more than $600,000.

Dubbed “Keep the Beat Summit County,” the grant program provides $220,000 per year to pay for AEDs, which cost about $1,500 each, AED training and free CPR classes for the public.

Coit and two other employees manage the grant.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a neat opportunity and we’re going gangbusters with it,” Coit said. “It makes Summit County even more special for folks who live here and it adds a layer of public response you don’t get in some areas.”

The work is already beginning to pay off. In the last month, an AED was successfully used at one of the local ski areas; the patient was kept alive and transported to the hospital, Coit said.

Coit said he expects up to 158 AEDs to be in place throughout the county by the time the grant is completed in 2007.

Most recently, Lake Dillon Fire Authority received five AEDs to install in its command vehicles, which are often the first vehicles on the scene of an emergency.

While firefighters are already trained in AED use as part of their job, ambulance personnel train workers at every non-medical related business that receives an AED so if there is an emergency, someone knows how to react while waiting for paramedics to arrive, Coit said.

The first step is always to call 911 if somebody is in cardiac arrest, regardless of whether an AED is on site or not, Coit said.

Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.

For more information on the AED program or free CPR classes, call (970) 668-9466 or visit http://www.keepthebeatsummit.com.


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